Dragon Spring Temple and Palace of Supreme Harmony (Kunming, Yunnan)

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Dragon Spring Temple

The Dragon Spring Temple ( 龍泉觀 Longquan Guan ), which is also known as Mt. Longquan Daoist Temple, is situated on Mt. Longquan in the northern suburbs of Kunming City. Spring water gushes out of the Black Dragon Pond under the mountain, which, as the ancients believed, was inhabited by a flood dragon. In the period of the Nanzhao Kingdom of Dali, the local people prayed to the pond whenever floods or droughts occurred. The Dragon King ( 龍王 Longwang ) Temple was once built at the beginning of the Yuan dynasty, but it was destroyed in disasters of war afterwards. At the beginning of the Ming dynasty, Duke Houmu of Xiping "assumed that crops in the state would wither without the spring, and divinities wouldn't dwell in the unrepaired temple" (Records of Mt. Longquan Daoist Temple), so he constructed a Daoist temple to enshrine Celestial Master ( 天師 Tianshi ) Zhang, and asked Daoist Xu Ritong to be its Abbot ( 住持 Zhuchi ). Later, when Daoist leader Liu Yuanran offended some influential officials and lived in Yunnan in banishment, he dwelled in the Dragon Spring Temple. Liu Yuanran had a great influence among the common people of Yunnan for his superior attainments in Daoism. "Whenever the Dian natives suffered severe calamities, they all went to him for aid, and any of their wishes was satisfied." During his stay in Yunnan, Liu Yuanran enrolled disciples extensively, the most famous of whom included Shao Yizheng and so on. Later, when recalled to the capital, Liu Yuanran specially recommended Shao Yizheng to the court and thereby Shao was appointed as Orthodox Oneness ( 正一 Zhengyi ) deputy of the Daoist Administration Office ( 道錄司 Daolusi ). Besides, Liu Yuanran "reported to the court, asking to establish three Daoist Discipline Offices ( 道紀司 Daojisi ) in Yunnan, Dali and Jinchi" (Records of the Shrine of Perfect Man ( 真人 Zhenren ) Changchun of the Dragon Spring Temple). Daoism thus developed vigorously within the boundaries of Yunnan. The Dian people once built an ancestral temple and a tomb of effects of Liu Yuanran in the Dragon Spring Temple to commemorate him.


The existing buildings in the Dragon Spring Temple include the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清 Sanqing ), The Jade Emperor ( 玉皇 Yuhuang ) Hall, the Founder's Hall, etc. However, nowadays the temple has no Daoist abbot, but has become part of the Black Dragon Pond Park. Up the steps of the park's boulevard is the entrance to the Dragon Spring Temple, where hangs a horizontal board inscribed with "Mystery Metropolis of the Purple Extreme". The temple is built along the axis of the middle ridge upward the mountain slope, well arranged and looking grand. Just behind the entrance stands the Founder's Hall, or the Hall of the Polar Star ( 北極 Beiji ). It is said the hall originally enshrined Bai Yuchan, the fifth master of the Southern Lineage of the Golden Elixir Sect ( 金丹派南宗 Jindanpai Nanzong ), but now it enshrines The Great Perfect Warrior Emperor of the Polar Star ( 北極真武大帝 Beijizhenwu Dadi ). To the east of the Founder's Hall is the Hall of the Perfect Man (which enshrines Perfect Man Changchun, Liu Yuanran) and behind it is the Jade Emperor Hall. To the east of the latter is the Hall of Wenchang, and behind it is the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones.


Around the Dragon Spring Temple, old trees reach to the sky, and the surroundings are elegant. Today in the temple there are one plum tree of the Tang dynasty, two cypresses of the Song dynasty, a few firs of the Yuan dynasty, tea trees of the Ming dynasty, and yulan magnolias of the Qing dynasty, which add beauty to this Daoist temple.


The Golden Hall in the Palace of Supreme Harmony ( 太和宮 Taihe Gong )

On a mountain named Mt. Mingfeng (singing phoenix) or Mt. Yingwu (parrot) in the northeastern suburbs of Kunming City, there is a Daoist temple named the Palace of Supreme Harmony. The big bronze hall inside the temple is just the "Golden Hall", which enjoys widespread renown. This hall was first built in the 13th Wanli year of the Ming dynasty (1602). According to legend, instructed by Lü Dongbin, Chen Yongbin, the temporal imperial inspector (xunfu) of Yunnan, ordered the construction of the Palace of Supreme Harmony on Mt. Mingfeng and cast the bronze Hall of the Perfect Warrior in imitation of the temple and hall of the same name on Mt. Wudang in Hubei. In the tenth year of the reign of Emperor Chongzhen (1637), Imperial Inspector Zhang Fenghe moved the bronze hall to Mt. Jizu, Binchuan, Dali. In the tenth year of the reign of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing dynasty (1671), Wu Sangui, King of Pingxi rebuilt a bronze hall on Mt. Mingfeng, which is just the present Golden Hall. It lies on two layers of marble base, and is built with a wood-structured, double-eaved-roof. The hall is 6.7 meters high, 7.8 meters wide, and 7.8 meters deep. It has 16 pillars and 36 lattice doors. The whole bronze hall weighs more than 250 tons. Enshrined right in the center of the hall is the Great Perfect Warrior Emperor; on his either side in attendance stand the Golden Lad and the Jade Maiden, and on their left and right are the two generals, tortoise and snake (all the divine statues are bronze statues). The bronze flags of the sun, the moon and the seven stars stand in the front of the hall. In 1982, the State Council acknowledged this hall as a major historical and cultural site under state protection.